December 2015 Maryland Certiorari Grants
The Court of Appeals website has posted certiorari grants from its December 2015 conference. We have a whopping 10 grants. And yet it brings us to a less-than-whopping total of 80 for the year. There were 90 total grants by this time last year. It’s possible that the Court of Appeals will add some extra cases to its September Term 2015 docket at next month’s conference. If so, however, it would be the first time since January 2012, before Chief Judge Barbera took the reins from Chief Judge Bell and committed to deciding cases by the end of the term in which they were argued.
The list of this month’s certiorari grants, with questions presented, appears after the jump.
CashCall, Inc., and J. Paul Reddam v. Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation – Case No. 80, September Term, 2015
Issues – Commercial Law – 1) Did CSA err in holding that the Maryland Credit Services Businesses Act (“MCSBA”) does not require “’a direct payment’ from the consumer,” despite this Court’s contrary ruling in Gomez v. Jackson Hewitt, 427 Md. 128 (2012), that MCSBA requires that “any payment … must come directly from the consumer”? 2) Can a borrower’s repayments of principal and interest be treated as a fee paid “directly” “in return” for a loan marketer’s assistance in obtaining the loan, simply because the principal previously included an origination fee whose benefits inured entirely to the original third-party lender?
Conover v. Conover– Case No. 79, September Term, 2015
Issues – Estates & Trusts – 1) Did CSA err in holding that Petitioner is a “third party,” where Petitioner is a legal parent under E.T. § 1-208(b)(4)? 2) Should Janice M. v. Margaret K., 404 Md. 661 (2008), be reconsidered?
Cynthia Keller-Bee v. State of Maryland – Case No. 73, September Term, 2015
Issues – Civil Procedure – 1) Did CSA properly find that clerical employees of the district courts are entitled to absolute judicial immunity for negligent torts which result in injury to a citizen? 2) Did CSA fail to adequately and properly follow this Court’s decision in Parker v. State, 337 Md. 271 (1995) which held that a judge was entitled to absolute judicial immunity but left open the question of whether clerical employees of the district courts were also entitled to such immunity?
Robert Anthony McGhie v. State of Maryland– Case No. 78, September Term, 2015
Issues – Criminal Law – 1) When a trial court, ruling on the merits of a petition for writ of actual innocence, considers whether newly discovered evidence that an expert lied about his credentials and education created a substantial or significant possibility that the verdict may have been different, should the court simply “excise the false testimony” and determine whether the outcome may have been different if the jury had heard no testimony whatsoever about the expert’s credentials and education, or should the trial court consider whether the result may have been different if it was revealed to the jury during trial that the expert had lied about his credentials? 2) Did the trial court abuse its discretion when it denied Petitioner’s petition for writ of actual innocence on its merits and ruled that newly discovered evidence that an expert had lied about his credentials and education did not create a substantial or significant possibility that the result of the trial may have been different?
Kevin Morton, Jr., et al. v. Cindy L. Schlotzhauer – Case No. 72, September Term, 2015
Issues – Civil Procedure – 1) Did CSA fail to credit and respect the discretion of the trial court and announce new mandates for a court in ruling on a Motion to Alter or Amend under MD Rule 2-534? 2) Did CSA misapply the law of relation back when it vacated the decision of the trial court and allowed plaintiff to pursue her original complaint which she had filed when not the real party in interest?
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al. v. Douglas A. Stidham, etc., et al. – Case No. 77, September Term, 2015
Issues – Torts – 1) After dismissing the appeal as moot, did CSA improperly issue an advisory opinion and inappropriately substitute its discretion for that of the trial court regarding the consideration of procedural safeguards to prevent prejudice to the Cigarette Defendants caused by permissive joinder with existing claims on the Asbestos Docket? 2) In rendering its advisory opinion, did CSA misapply the “important public concern” exception to the mootness doctrine in order to review a procedural issue presented only in a limited number of cases pending in a single court which can be reviewed in the future at Plaintiffs’ option? 3) Did CSA err in concluding that there was a final, appealable judgment despite the fact that the trial court plainly expressed its intention not to put Plaintiffs out of court and granted the right to refile? 4) After a case has been resolved as to all defendants by settlement, dismissal or summary judgment, are Plaintiffs thereafter precluded on the ground of mootness from obtaining judicial relief in the form of reinstatement back into the case of Defendants who were, over Plaintiffs’ objection, dismissed on the basis they were improperly joined?
Stephen Sieglein v. Laura Schmidt – Case No. 76, September Term, 2015
Issues – Family Law – 1) Whether the plain meaning of MD Code Ann. Estates & Trusts § 1-206(b) can be interpreted to include a case of “in vitro” fertilization from a donated egg and donated sperm, as a result of which Petitioner has been declared a parent of the child and thereby liable for child support, even though the child has no genetic connection to either of the parties? 2) Whether the plain meaning of MD Code Ann. Family Law § 1-203(a)(2) can be interpreted to sustain a permanent injunction against Petitioner on the basis of “harassment”? 3) Whether the long settled meaning of “voluntary impoverishment” has been ignored by the decisions of the courts below?
State of Maryland v. Kenneth Hart – Case No. 74, September Term, 2015
Issues – Criminal Procedure – 1) Did CSA err in holding that the trial court violated MD Rule 4-231 by discussing a jury note with the foreperson in Respondent’s absence where defense counsel waived Respondent’s presence in order to view the note, and also suggested that the trial court question the foreperson about the note in Respondent’s absence? 2) Where a mistrial as to one count was manifestly necessary due to jury deadlock did Respondent, who was unavailable, not have a right to be present for the trial court’s declaration of a mistrial as to that count, and if Respondent did have a right to be present, was the error in declaring a mistrial in his absence harmless? 3) Assuming that the trial court committed reversible error in declaring a mistrial as to a deadlocked count in Respondent’s absence, did CSA err in holding that dismissal of the deadlocked count, rather than retrial, was the appropriate remedy?
Marshall Tyrone Stoddard v. Department of Health and Mental Hygiene – Case No. 81, September Term, 2015
Issues – Criminal Procedure – 1) Does the MD Code Criminal Procedure Art. § 3-115 et. seq., interpreted by CSA in Byers v. State, 184 Md.App. 499 (2009), violate the MD Declaration of Rights Art. 8 and did the trial court err as a matter of law when it conducted a de novo hearing in violation of the statute? 2) Did the trial court err in refusing to consider the ALJ’s report and recommendations and refusing to grant Petitioner’s conditional release?
Efrain Taylor v. State of Maryland – Case No. 75, September Term, 2015
Issues – Criminal Law – 1) Under Arizona v. Gant, 556 U.S. 332, may a law enforcement officer search a vehicle when he knows nothing more than the fact that the driver has been arrested for DUI and that, in his experience, evidence of DUI may be found inside the vehicle? 2) Must a vehicular search be supported by some quantum of particularized suspicion based on articulable facts? 3) Does the Fourth Amendment countenance a per se rule permitting a vehicular search in any case where the crime of arrest is one that may generate physical evidence? 4) Under the circumstances of this case, was the search of Petitioner’s vehicle unconstitutional?